Thursday, November 15, 2007
Long Time Coming
With the UBC meet closing in fast Wednesday’s workout became a test for how well I can expect to do this weekend. All in all it went OK – my times in a 6 x 50 test set were middling fair; Coach Brad mistakenly adding five seconds to my times because Ian had changed our normal ten second interval to seven so he could swim breast last and not get run over by Damon who had chosen free/fly to lead our lane. I didn’t bother to correct Brad’s mistake. I did confirm my top speed is definitely compromised however, as when I start increasing my stroke turnover my tired muscles tighten up: a reality which not only slows turnover but also impedes stroke efficiency. Nothing unexpected here of course as my training aims for March ‘08, not November ‘07, and made worse by the fact my overall progress hasn’t been what I envisioned over a year ago. Back then I figured it would take around six years to complete a transformation from Joe Average to swimming guru, calculating it would take six months to get into enough shape to begin proper low kilometer training and then another year before I could race off the admittedly minuscule training base so created. A year and a half before being race ready. Actual experience has shown I was considerably off the mark – it’s taken me a full year just to get fit enough to tackle low kilometer training, and at present only two months into the low kilometer phase I’m thinking trying to base a proper race program on several months of 20,000 meter weeks isn’t really feasible. I now believe a further step of a year’s worth of mid-kilometrage training (around 30,000 + a week) is needed to provide the necessary technique, strength and endurance necessary to race up to 200 meters. At least race at a consistency and quality which would allow proper evaluation of my performance. That’s three years of training; two if I want to cut corners and compromise, before I can reasonably extrapolate my race results ahead a further three or four years to find out what six years of hard work would likely achieve. Why six years? Well the average muscle cell lives for around seven years, so to completely rebuild a body would take something close to the same amount of time. Then studies have shown aerobic performance as measured by an individual’s VO² max can be improved upon with strenuous exercise for up to five years. That leads to a six year compromise. It may well be low. For instance Bill Sweetenham considers ten years of training as an appropriate base to race off – though admittedly we’re talking racing at the elite level where Sweetenham is concerned. I’ll have to be very, very good to race for six years. Forget about training for ten – that’s something for the young or the clinically obsessed to explore.